AHRQ Electronic Newsletter, Feb. 16, 2016

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February 16, 2016, Issue #505

AHRQ Stats: Chronic Health Conditions

One in four Americans received treatment for at least two chronic health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension in 2012. Collectively, chronic care treatment accounted for 57 percent of all health care expenditures that year. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief #485: Health Expenditures For Adults by Number of Treated Chronic Conditions, Race/Ethnicity, and Age, 2012.)

Today's Headlines:

New Resources Help Clinicians and Patients Deal With Alcohol Use Disorder


AHRQ today published two new resources to help primary care clinicians and their patients make evidence-based decisions about which medications to use for treating alcohol use disorder (AUD), the medical diagnosis for problem drinking that causes mild to severe distress or harm. The new resources – a pair of research summaries designed to facilitate treatment discussions between clinicians and patients – will make it easier for primary care clinicians to work with their patients to make treatment decisions about medications used to treat AUD. Primary care providers are typically trained to refer patients with AUD for specialized treatment, and fewer than 10 percent of people treated for AUD receive medications currently. In the United States, more than 68 million people 18 years old or older suffer from AUD at some point in their lifetime, according to data released by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in August 2015. The research summaries are based on findings from a 2014 AHRQ-funded review, Pharmacotherapy for Adults With Alcohol-Use Disorders in Outpatient Settings. Health professionals may earn continuing education credit based on the review.

AHRQ Study: EHR Drug Allergy Safety Warnings Need Urgent Improvement

An urgent need exists to improve the accuracy and relevance of drug allergy safety alerts issued through computerized provider order entry systems, according to an AHRQ study. The improvements are needed to reduce the rate of alert overrides by clinicians who may be subject to “alert fatigue,” or becoming desensitized to safety alerts by either ignoring or failing to respond appropriately to them. Based on more than 611,000 drug allergy alert records from 2004 to 2013 at two large Boston academic hospitals, the study found that alerts for two serious reactions were overridden about three-quarters of the time. “Rising Drug Allergy Alert Overrides in Electronic Health Records: An Observational Retrospective Study of a Decade of Experience” and abstract were published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Vision Coverage Leads to Less Difficulty Seeing Among Medicaid Recipients: AHRQ Study

Medicaid recipients with vision coverage were 11 percent less likely to have difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses or contact lenses compared with those who did not have vision coverage, a new AHRQ study found. States are not required to provide Medicaid adult vision benefits, but many have offered some level of preventive coverage in the past decade. AHRQ researchers compared vision outcomes in states that provided these benefits with those that did not between 2002 and 2013. In addition to lowering the odds of difficulty seeing, Medicaid adult vision benefits increased the likelihood of an eye care visit among Medicaid recipients by 17 percent. The authors reported that their study was the first to examine the causal effects of Medicaid vision coverage. Findings were based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey and the Kaiser Family Foundation. “The Effect of Health Insurance Coverage on Medical Care Utilization and Health Outcomes: Evidence from Medicaid Adult Vision Benefits” and abstract were published in the Journal of Health Economics.

New Research and Data From AHRQ

Register Now: April 29 Conference on Improving Children’s Health Care Quality

Registration is open for the April 29 Academic Pediatric Association’s sixth annual conference, “Advancing Quality Improvement Science for Children’s Healthcare.” The conference, co-sponsored by AHRQ, will be in Baltimore. The agenda and session descriptions are available.

Featured Case Study: Texas Medical Center Uses TeamSTEPPS® To Improve Rapid Response Performance

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s rapid response team improved an average 32 percent across five performance categories after participation in AHRQ’s TeamSTEPPS® training. The course featured high-fidelity simulation, which uses mannequins that can be programmed with vital signs and that respond to interventions. Read the case study.

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

A trigger tool to detect harm in pediatric inpatient settings. Stockwell DC, Bisarya H, Classen DC, et al.  Pediatrics. 2015 Jun;135(6):1036-42. Epub 2015 May 18. Access the abstract in PubMed®. 

Piloting a text message-based social support intervention for patients with chronic pain: establishing feasibility and preliminary efficacy. Guillory J, Chang P, Henderson CR, Jr., et al. Clin J Pain. 2015 Jun;31(6):548-56. Access the abstract in PubMed®. 

Hospitals with the highest intensive care utilization provide lower quality pneumonia care to the elderly. Sjoding MW, Prescott HC, Wunsch H, et al. Crit Care Med. 2015 Jun;43(6):1178-86. Access the abstract in PubMed®. 

The impact of state policies on ACA applications and enrollment among low-income adults in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Texas. Sommers BD, Maylone B, Nguyen KH, et al. Health Aff. 2015 Jun;34(6):1010-8. Access the abstract in PubMed®. 

Association of a bundled intervention with surgical site infections among patients undergoing cardiac, hip, or knee surgery. Schweizer ML, Chiang HY, Septimus E, et al. JAMA. 2015 Jun 2;313(21):2162-71. Access the abstract in PubMed®. 

Antidepressant use late in pregnancy and risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. Huybrechts KF, Bateman BT, Palmsten K, et al. JAMA. 2015 Jun 2;313(21):2142-51. Access the abstract in PubMed®. 

Surgical team member assessment of the safety of surgery practice in 38 South Carolina hospitals. Singer SJ, Jiang W, Huang LC, et al. Med Care Res Rev. 2015 Jun;72(3):298-323. Epub 2015 Mar 31. Access the abstract in PubMed®. 

Releasing test results directly to patients: a multisite survey of physician perspectives. Giardina TD, Callen J, Georgiou A, et al. Patient Educ Couns. 2015 Jun;98(6):788-96. Epub 2015 Feb 23. Access the abstract in PubMed®. 

Contact Information

Please address comments and questions about the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter to Bruce Seeman at: (301) 427-1998 or Bruce.Seeman@ahrq.hhs.gov.